We all make new year’s resolutions, but many of us are not likely to follow through. Turning over a new leaf in the New Year can be tricky, but finding a way to stick with it is important when that new leaf benefits your health. If you want to take better care when looking after your teeth and gums this year, these five resolutions can keep you diligent:
Schedule a Dental Appointment
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, you’re not alone. About one third of people in the U.S. don’t see a dentist yearly, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site. But booking this appointment is one of the most important things you can do when looking after your teeth. According to the ADA, some conditions – such as sensitivity in the teeth or bleeding gums – are sure signs that it’s time to see a dentist. Even if your teeth look and feel fine, enter a reminder in your phone or calendar for January 1 so that you can call your dentist on January 2 for an appointment.
To make the process of scheduling visits easier, book your next one before you leave their office. Most dentists send out reminder cards a week prior or call a day before your appointment; check that yours does.
Commit to Flossing
Brushing your teeth twice a day isn’t enough to keep plaque from building up on your teeth, or to completely remove bits of food from your mouth. To take the best care of your teeth, you need to floss too. If you’re not in the habit of flossing, the new year is a great time to start.
One way to make it easier to remember is putting a container of floss on top of or directly next to your toothpaste. Position the container so that you have to touch it when taking your toothpaste out of the drawer or cabinet. Stash another container of floss in your purse or desk drawer at work, so that you can floss on the go if you forget to do it at home.
Cut Back on Sugar
A study published in BMC Public Health in September 2014 confirmed a direct link between the amount of sugar a person eats and the amount of tooth decay he has. Cutting back on sugar can cut your risk for tooth decay considerably. The most convenient way to cut back on sugar is to reduce the number of sugary treats you buy. Simple swaps will help you cut back as well: Drink sugar-free seltzer water instead of soda, or chew a piece of sugar-free gum when you have a craving for something sweet.
Kick the Habit
Smoking doubles your risk for gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is linked to a host of other health issues. Pick a date to give up the habit, get rid of all the tobacco products from your home and solicit the support of your friends and family to help you quit. There will be cravings along the way, so it’s important to find a healthy activity to engage in when a craving kicks in. Feel free to see your general practitioner if you struggle to curb the addiction by yourself.
Eat More Mouth-Healthy Foods
When you cut back on sugar, resolve to add more orally healthy foods to your diet to solidify your diet’s benefit to your teeth. Dairy products, which are high in calcium, are great for your teeth, as are fibrous foods that call up saliva and scrub away plaque and other food bits, according to Delta Dental.
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